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Remote-Controlled Aerial Vehicles – Made-to-Measure and better Protection for our Soldiers on Missions (Müllner)

In short by Gertrud Maria Vaske

Armed drones bring significant advantages in warfare and for civilians. They can make a vital contribution to protecting soldiers in the German armed forces (Bundeswehr). According to Generalleutnant Karl Müllner, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) obtain critical, life-or-death information in asymmetric wars. Armed drones could intervene precisely and proportionately in combat action and avoid human sources of error.

He believes there is no danger in Germany of armed UAVs being used for illegal killings, since every deployment of the Bundeswehr is subject to strict parliamentary control. In other words, their missions take place within a tightly defined international law and constitutional framework.

Müllner asks whether it is right to deny our soldiers technological advantages, and whether it is not almost a moral duty to ensure that soldiers are better equipped, since they too have a right to physical integrity. Control over armed UAVs must remain in human hands in the future as well, in order to safeguard the legal and moral dimension of weapons usage by soldiers.

According to Müllner, from an international law perspective and moral point of view, remote-controlled aerial weapons are not different than other, existing weapons systems. In his opinion, ethical questions only become relevant when it comes to the deployment of armed remote-controlled aerial vehicles.

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